Creating a US Style Resume for Job Applications

I thought I would touch in a short note about resumes. As many sites that also charge for other free information I have shared in this blog also state as part of their service they will help with resumes as well to ensure it is in a US format which can be different from other International countries.

To be honest, in this global world, where labor is constantly travelling all over the place, differences between resumes (language aside) is becoming more and more homogenized the world over. So the advice I will share to help with your job applications to get your E3 Visa, H1B Visa or J1 Visa may be what you are already doing.

Additionally, the job sites I recommended like Monster.com and LinkedIn.com as well as others like Career Builder and Yahoo Hot Jobs all have extensive sections on this so it hardly a trade secret.

The truth is probably these days, that you have to go beyond your resume format to obtain a job offer and eventually get your E3 or H1B visa by really standing out from the pack. By this I mean it is the presentation, extra efforts, interview performance which is basically whole package you offer during all stages of the application process that will get you that job offer.

However the resume is an important pre-requisite so I will try and outline the major points of the US style resume in my opinion. Of course depending on the profession, some factors may vary but this will be the standard to cover most types of industries I believe.

Just in case you were wondering, my resume was very much in an Australian style and I actually had a sit down session over breakfast with a VP of a media company, who basically tore my whole things to shreds. Then he gave me section by section pointers to change it to a US Style Resume.

I can also confirm my initial response rate from prospective employers improved dramatically following this complete re-work.

General Points to Consider

  • Keep the length to 2 pages or less
  • Put it in the format of reverse chronological order (i.e. job experience then education then extra information)
  • Try and put all your contact details in the header area as not to waste space
  • Consider adding a business/personal objective of about 1-2 sentences just prior to work experience. Also if you do add this, try and tailor it to the position to which you are applying
  • You can also either in this initial section or in a cover letter state when you are available to work
  • In work experience put your most recent experience first by putting company name & location, job title, dates of service, the job description in bullet form (ensure this straight to the point like “managed $10 million marketing budget for clients across all channels”)
  • In education state the institution and all relevant qualification achieved as well as year of graduation. If mini description is required to explain qualification then add here as well
  • Consider putting the web address of institution if it is foreign to the US so they can research
  • In next part you can spend a little bit of space on additional skills, achievements/awards and personal interests however this is definitely not the focus of the resume so should be kept brief
  • The second last thing is to put reference check names and their relevant contact details. US companies have a tendency to check these during the job offer stage of the application process but of course that can vary.
  • The last party you can put a brief note on your Visa Status, I will paste below exactly what I put there for the E3 visa but of course you can substitute for H1B or any other visa as well.

VISA STATUS:
As an Australian I am eligible for the E3 visa which is specifically for Australian professionals working for US employers. (This visa works similarly to the Canadian TN Visa and requires 1 form to be completed being the Labor Condition Application (LCA –US State Dept. Info)

I hope all this information has been of some help in your quest for an E3, J1 or H1B visa and that soon your plans and hard work applying for jobs in the US will get you many call backs, interviews and hopefully job offers to choose from!

CJ

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13 thoughts on “Creating a US Style Resume for Job Applications

  1. Hi,

    Thanks for the great tips! by the way, how come you haven’t mentioned in ur visa status section regarding the free & quick process?

  2. Hi SR,
    I appreciate the complements but not sure you mean by the free and quick process. If you mean why didn’t I mention the process is free for the employer, I guess you certainly could as my suggestion is just to help people get started.
    CJ

  3. Hi there,

    thanks for the quick reply!

    here is what I did. I insrted an endnote mentioneding my visa status and used your paragraph while adding the below to it too. what do u u think?

    Benefits of E3over H1B:

    • No Cost to the Employer
    • No regulations & fixed dates
    • Approval can be received very quickly in a matter of a few days or less
    • LCA Form can be filed and approved quickly at any time (including online here)

  4. Great Advice!

    Thank you so much for sharing! I had tailored up a bunch of resumes at the end of last year whilst in the states in hope of interest and an e3 sponsorship. I came so, so very close but my wording and explanation of the e3 visa was not clear enough and they chose a local candidate. I hope to get back again later in the year and will try with the advice you have provided.
    I feel much better after stumbling across your blog.

    thank you.

  5. Hi CJ,
    Thanks for more confirmation on the resume style. I’ve got a friend in the states who looked at my Aus resume and also tore it to pieces, pretty much had me doing everything that you have also suggested. The visa part at the bottom isn’t something I have added yet so I’m going to def put it in.
    Thanks heaps.
    Also as you work in IT (from what I’ve read in other posts, do you know of anyone that would hire a Lotus Notes Developer. Or how about entry level grad positions?)
    Cheers for the great site!

  6. Hi Kieran,
    Thanks for the kind words. I am well aware of the technology space yet although am not directy involved with IT in the traditional sense like your specialty is. My biggest suggestion if you are applying at entry level, realize that you need to be in front of the employer face to face. So you have to take that chance and come here for job applications. I am sure if you search the major sites there would be many openings for Lotus Notes but maybe it will be lesss competitive in the non major cities, especially for entry level roles.
    Good Luck,
    CJ

  7. Yay! I was looking for some wording to explain the E3 visa, and here it is!

    Just a quick question – is it ok to hyperlink in a resume? or would you even put a website link on a resume?

    And sorry, another question that is a little bit more complicated… I´m intending to fly over to NYC in June on the visa waiver, have a share room lined up as well which I booked through an agent and have contact with the landlord/roommate. Would you recommend putting the address of the accommodation I have (a NYC address) on the CV to grab a bit more attention, and explain it in the cover letter, or it´s better to just put the address of where I am currently residing? I have friends saying that if you don´t have a NY address, employers won´t even bother picking up your CV… what are your thoughts?

    Thanks CJ for such a great website, keep up the good work.

  8. Thanks Grete for the kind words.

    It is alright to have properly formatter hyperlinks in resumes to company sites or LinkedIn profiles. Given you are often sending PDFs/Word Docs to emails these are easily clickable.

    Yes a US address and in particular the address of the city where you are applying is almost mandatory particularly when you are already starting at a disadvantage just being a non American.

    Good Luck,
    Cj

  9. I have started to apply for roles in US am not getting any luck so far. It has been three months or so. Would it be recommended to be in the US whilst I apply for the roles considering that the employers might prefer the candidate to be in states before they do decide about interviews.

  10. Hi,
    Would you recommended to be in the US whilst applying for jobs as the company would want to meet the candidate at some point?

    Thanks

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